Britain among the worst in Europe for press freedom

by Abel Hampton April 26, 2018, 0:36
Britain among the worst in Europe for press freedom

2018 World Press Freedom Index, which ranks freedom of journalists in 180 countries, raises safety concerns. The US president had referred to reporters as "enemies of the people", a term once used by Stalin, it said.

The campaigning organisation cited proposals to introduce tougher press regulation, the government's campaign to limit encryption on services such as WhatsApp, and restrictions by Labour and the Conservatives on journalists' access to politicians during the 2017 general election as evidence of a "heavy-handed" approach towards the media in the UK.

Norway (7.63) has topped the list with North Korea (88.87) at the bottom of the list of 180 countries of the world.

The report also states that "the very occasional physical attacks on journalists (in Jamaica) must be offset against this, but no serious act of violence or threat to media freedom has been reported since February 2009, a month that saw two cases of abuse of authority by the Kingston police".

This has been the recent assessment made for these countries of the region by the world known organization, Reporters without Borders, in its latest report on the freedom of press in the world.

More and more democratically-elected leaders no longer see the media as part of democracy's essential underpinning, but as an adversary to which they openly display their aversion.

WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump's unrelenting attacks on the free press have created a "Trump effect" promoting antagonism against journalists in the USA and overseas, the media watchdog and advocacy group Reporters Without Borders said Wednesday in its annual World Press Freedom Index. The report mentioned sharing of "hate speeches" targeting journalists by "troll armies" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a reason for this low rank.

On 16 October 2017, journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was brutally murdered in a targeted car-bomb just metres away from her Bidnija residence.

The line separating verbal violence from physical violence is disappearing, the worldwide NGO writes, continuing that verbal violence from politicians against the media is also on the rise in Europe, even though it is the region that respects press freedom the most. Czech Republic President Milos Zeman has called journalists "hyenas", and President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has said reporters "are not exempted from assassination".

With the rise of populist politics and "strongman" leaders, Europe's downward trend will likely continue, RSF said.

The watchdog's Secretary General Christophe Deloire warned that disputing the legitimacy of journalism is to "play with extremely unsafe political fire".

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